Thursday, January 23, 2014

'F' Words

(NO, not those kind of F Words! ;) Luckily, our struggle is with the pronunciation of the good F words and NOT that she is saying the bad ones!

Since we have had our IDP, we have had an assessment with the speech therapist and have also gotten Z's hearing tested. All is well with her hearing, and while her language is great for an internationally adopted child, we have decided to take advantage of the services available to us in Canada, and get some assistance from the speech therapist.

Zahra's vocabulary is growing, and her sentence lengths are also growing, but Daddy and others still have a difficult time understanding her. Speech therapy helps us identify the problem areas and gives me the tools to work on these areas with her.

Today the therapist identified one main contributor of the misunderstandings is Zahra's interpretation of the 'F' sound. Commonly children of her age, will substitute a 'P' or a 'B' for the 'F' sound, pronouncing 'Fish' as 'Pish' or 'Bish'. Zahra uses a 'Sh' sound, pronouncing 'Fish' as 'Shish', which, apparently is difficult for our ears to interpret.

I thought I would share some simple exercises in case you also have a child who also has difficulties in this area.

We started by instructing Zahra to bite her lower lip and breath out, making the F sound.

She did so in front of a mirror, so she could see herself. We practiced this a few times, and then played a couple games. Her favorite game was the stamping game.

At home, I allow her to draw the stamping circles, then she stamps them as she pronounces the word. One stamp for the 'f' sound , and another stamp for the end of the word. (I was out of ink pads, so we used my office stamps. She didn't seem to mind! Ha.)

One day in and we are nailing the words about 50% of the time. In a couple days she won't even have to think about it anymore.

Here is a link to some picture cards and other activities you can try if you also have a child who struggles with the 'f' sound. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Language and the brain are so fascinating to me. Both of our children adopted from Kenya needed speech therapy for "l" and "r" sounds. In Swahili, these letters sound the same, so our speech therapist explained that babies are born able to speak all phonemes, but our brains trim out the ones we don't hear and don't need for the languages we speak. Since both of our kids heard Swahili for one plus years, the theory is that their brains trimmed away these sounds and they had to be re-learned. Have you seen this with Zahra? Or other kids adopted from Kenya? Just curious...

Jolene said...

Yes on the R! Likely our next exercise! In Kenya, we noticed that many pronounced 'R' as 'L'. My daughter's name is Ryley. Everyone had a very difficult time with it, even the adults, pronouncing her name as Lyley. (And so does Z!). Strange thing is, many would pronounce my name as Jorene. Ha. Go figure.
There are many words in Swahili that use the 'L' sound though, like Lala Salama... which Z has no problem with. Your kids had difficulty sounding out the L's?
Another thing I am wondering Colleen - is Z likes to drop the consonants at the ends of words. All the time. Thinking back to Swahili, I can't recall a word that ends with a consonant. Did you notice this with your kids at all?